If you remember the Def Jam brawlers then you knew a time where beef between friends was settled by making rappers beat the hell out of each other on screen. A time where you could actually figure out if Ludacris could take Ghostface Killah in a fight, or who between DMX and Joe Budden could take the most kicks to the chin. The heydey of early 2000’s fighting games was ushered in thanks in large part to the Def Jam series. But with ten years since the last entry in the franchise, many fans have resigned the games to a place of nostalgia, free from the hope that a new one will see the light of day.
However, this may not soon be the case anymore as the Def Jam Recordings Twitter has been abuzz with “hypotheticals” which include a request for fans to name a cover artist and a potential city to battle for.
HYPOTHETICALLY, who’d you like to see on the cover if this game made a comeback? pic.twitter.com/8c8bJR9RNA
— Def Jam Recordings (@defjam) June 29, 2018
The first post reached Twitter in June and made it abundantly clear that the company is most likely just testing the waters. This tactic makes total sense, as a lot has changed in the last decade, and Def Jam wants to ensure fans’ nostalgia is strong enough to warrant another title. The thousands of retweets and likes on the post are encouraging, and it’s clear the company thought so as well judging by their second tweet regarding the franchise.
Pick a city pic.twitter.com/VkbVZvNpHw
— Def Jam Recordings (@defjam) August 1, 2018
This post garnered much more attention, which is yet another good sign for a potential revival. The interest of fans was probably piqued because this tweet is far less hypothetical. Granted, nothing is concrete, but the mysterious nature of Def Jam’s activities became clearer when they asked which city a new game should be set in. The options were four powerhouses in the rap game: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Miami.
But of course nothing is set in stone yet. All we can hope is that after dipping their toes into the pool Def Jam will be ready to leap off the high dive and give us what we’ve been craving since the last generation of consoles.
While still the reigning champion of the music industry, rap is in a weird place right now with Kanye West outing himself as a Trump supporter, and a rainbow haired pedophile topping the charts, so who knows what the future holds for a hip-hop based game. In order for another Def Jam game to see the light of day they would need a publisher willing to tackle the franchise once more.
Their previous home at EA has undergone a whole lot of changes itself in the time since the series was within its grasp. Given the recent Kaepernick controversy in Madden 19, the company might just not be a great fit for rap at the moment. Given their success in working closely with rappers, hip-hop music icons, and more, 2K might be the place the recording giant should look. Their work with Jay-Z, Pharrell, and Spike Lee in individual NBA 2K games bodes well for their relationship with the industry, but the mature rating the game would absolutely require may be too far out of 2K’s comfort zone.
At this point in time we’re merely grasping at straws and clinging to hypotheticals and rumors, but who knows what the future holds! The Def Jam games have achieved mass commercial success and critical acclaim in their time, so it’s entirely possible that Def Jam is dead serious about bringing their eponymous series back to life.